We are in a unique moment in education – an experience none of us have ever seen before. We’ve been through a sudden pivot to an entirely new model of education through virtual and hybrid learning. We’ve done school in masks and social distancing protocols. We’ve had parents fill in as substitute teachers. And now we’re in the midst of a national teacher shortage with a record number of first-year teachers as children come back to school this fall.

And yet, we know that we can’t take the foot off the gas. We can’t afford to take a break. Children have entered classrooms this fall, ready or not, and we need to teach them.

If we want academic rigor – and we all do – we have to be explicit about social emotional learning.

Social emotional learning (SEL) is the instruction of skills that help a child learn to understand and manage their emotions, reactions and relationships. It is the process by which students learn critical skills such as grit, resilience, gratitude and understanding self and others.

This year, as so many teachers enter classrooms for the first time, and students come in trying to play catch up, it will be essential for educators to have a resource for teaching SEL as well as explicit time to teach it. Our education system is in a canoe going upstream against so many challenges this year. We should at least provide a paddle.

Shopping for an SEL curriculum?

Look for something that is student facing, year-long, grade and age appropriate, teaches social emotional skills explicitly and generalizes the application of those skills to numerous contexts.

To learn more about Changemakers, our SEL curriculum, visit momentousinstitute.org/changemakers.

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